Overview: The Excel Workbook and the Interface – A Guide for Beginner’s

Overview of Microsoft Excel

Although, the following article will provide you with a complete overview of Excel workbook and the interface, first, before that let me take an opportunity to explain a bit about Microsoft Excel.

There are numerous capabilities in Microsoft Office that enable users to achieve both personal and professional goals. Of all the Office programs, Microsoft Excel is arguably the most popular and adaptable.

Regardless of the path you take in your career, you will probably need to utilize Excel to achieve your professional goals, some of which may require you to do so on a regular basis.

The following article gives a general introduction and an overview of Microsoft Excel program, it interface and explains how to use the workbook’s features and instructions.

excel workbook and interface overview

What is Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel is one of the programs of Microsoft Office suite. Microsoft Office Suite is available in multiple versions.

There are various Microsoft Office versions available, for example: Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016, Office 2019, Office 2021 and Office 365 are a few significant ones.

Go through one of our previous articles which can tell you all about Microsoft Office and related aspects.

[A Complete Introduction and Description of MS Office]

Microsoft Office Excel is a frequently utilized program. You can utilize this spreadsheet application; for storing and analyzing numerical data, creating charts, calculations, and to do many more.

Within the Microsoft Office suite, Excel is a spreadsheet application. Workbooks, or collections of spreadsheets, can be formatted and created with Excel so that data can be analysed and better business decisions can be made.

You can increase the capability of the Excel software program by using its many functions, formulas, and shortcuts.

How to Open Excel Workbook?

Note: Before you start working with the Excel program, make sure you have one of the Office suites installed in your system.

Locate the Excel program on your computer. You may launch excel either way below:

  1. Go to Windows Search and type, excel. You will see the result, just tap on it to open
  2. Open the Run dialog box (Win + R) and type, excel. Click OK to launch Excel application

With your action above, most probably, the first option is “Blank workbook”. Click to open.

how to open excel workbook

Overview: Excel Workbook and the Interface

A blank workbook will open on your screen as soon as Excel is launched. Workbooks, often known as spreadsheets, are Excel files that have one or more worksheets in it.

Based on the number of newly opened workbooks, Excel will give each one a file name, such as Book1, Book2, Book3, and so forth.

Quick Access Toolbar

On the top left of the Excel workbook, you will see some common shortcuts and commands by default that you can quickly get access to it. Most likely, you will have Save, Undo, Redu, etc.

Additionally, you have the option to “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” that means, you can add or remove displayed shortcuts and commands as per your need.

quick access toolbar

The Ribbon

Right below the quick access toolbar, we have “The Ribbon”.  If you have already been working with Excel or other Microsoft apps, you should know that this has been around since the Office 2007 edition.

There are different features in Ribbon itself. The Ribbon is full of Tabs and buttons towards the top left to right Like you see, File Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View, Help, etc.

The Ribbon is just full of various commands. Ribbon Tabs are also broken into various groups. For instance, we can see the Home Tab; it got Clipboard, Font, Alignment, Number, Styles, Cells, Editing, Analysis, and so on.

the excel ribbon and groups

Similarly, you can see it on other Tabs of Excel. You will have separate groups for each Tab Ribbon.

Note: If you are on an earlier Office version, like Office 2010 or Office 2013 or on a Mac, the interface is going to be a little bit different and the buttons might look a bit different

Formula Bar

Now the next portion, right below the Ribbon, is called Formula bar. It actually got to segments in it. Name box and the Formula bar

excel formula bar

Status Bar

The status bar is one that we pretty commonly overlook because it’s kind of small and just kind of out of the way. But we’ve got some important stuff that could potentially show up there.

We will show you the various features that show up and that you can activate inside the status bar.

If you look it up over towards the right, you get some view buttons such as Normal, Page Layout and Page Break Preview. These three little buttons allow you to change the view of your workbook.

Additionally, when you go to the far right. You will see a zoom bar that allows you to zoom in and out of the excel workbook or worksheet itself.

excel status bar

These view buttons are also available on the Ribbon itself in the View tab on the top of your screen, in “Workbook views” group.

Excel Workbook

The excel workbook or workbook type is the main excel file. The excel workbook contains worksheets into it.

By default, the excel workbook has one worksheet, automatically named as “Sheet1”. You might have Sheet1, Sheet2 and Sheet3 depending on the version of your Microsoft Excel and the default settings in it.

You can add additional sheets to the workbook itself by just clicking on the little plus symbol (+), besides your current worksheet.

Users were adding several worksheets and used to limit it to 255 worksheets inside of a single Excel Workbook, but as of the latest versions of excels, it is based on the memory of your computer system.

Excel workbook and worksheets

Structure of Excel Workbook or Worksheet

The excel workbook and worksheet structure shows you the Grid. The grid is made up of Columns with headers on the top (A, B, C, D, E and so on) and Rows down the side there (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on).

You can reference your data using the column header and row header. For instance, when you click on any cell in your workbook, like in the image below for selected cell, H13 where in H is column header and 13 is row header.

structure of an excel workbook

Saving an Excel Document

Lastly, take a quick peek at how you would save an excel document. You have to save your excel workbook pretty regularly.

Make sure that nothing goes wrong, nothing crashes, and you don’t want to lose your work. It’s quite really simple. Let’s take a look at saving an excel workbook or worksheet data:

While you are in your current workbook:

  • Go to the excel Ribbon at the top and click the File tab.
  • You will have a list of options and can see Save and Save As in there

how to save excel workbook


  • Click on Save and this will give you the option to select a location (where to save the excel file). Select Browse (if you want to save it locally) or any other location (network of SharePoint) depending on your requirement
  • Provide the File Name for identification for future reference and hit Save and you are done.

Note: Make a practice to using Ctrl + S shortcut periodically while working on any of the excel workbooks to save it and prevent data loss.

Save As

If we do a Save As with an existing document. This will allow us to rename the document to something else and that way we can get multiple copies of that one document.

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